NEW BOSTON, Texas–Trial has been delayed in the case of a Texarkana man accused of sexual misconduct with a 14-year-old boy in 2020 because data from social media accounts was not turned over to the defense.
Justin Daniel Bookout, 43, was charged with sexual assault of a child in 2021. He is accused of picking up a 14-year-old boy multiple times in the Spring of 2020 after the boy snuck out of a family member’s home, according to a probable cause document.
A jury was selected Monday to decide the case. Texarkana lawyer Josh Potter, who represents Bookout, filed a motion Tuesday seeking a delay in the trial after learning that a police investigator had neglected to turn over data acquired through a subpoena from social media accounts to the district attorney’s office.
Potter said he asked Assistant District Attorney Katie Carter, who is representing the state, if such information was in the state’s possession after noticing a reference to it in other evidence while preparing for the trial. Carter was able to determine that there was such evidence that her office had not received from the investigator despite the investigator believing the information had been forwarded to the prosecution.
If the social media data contains sexually-oriented photos or other such material involving a juvenile, the state cannot provide copies to the defense by law. Instead, the defense must view the sensitive evidence at the district attorney’s office.
Fifth District Judge Bill Miller granted the motion to put off the trial until Feb. 7. That delay gives the state time to review the material and determine whether it can be copied for the defense and allows time for the defense to review the evidence, either in the form of copies or at the district attorney’s office.
The jury seated to hear the case is still sworn in and under instructions to return to the Bowie County courthouse on Feb. 7 when the proceedings are expected to resume.
The allegations were first reported to the Texarkana Texas Police Department by an investigator with the Arkansas State Police in 2021.
Bookout is currently free on a $50,000 bond. If convicted he faces two to 20 years in prison. However, if sentenced to 10 years or less, and if the jury recommends it, Bookout could receive a term of probation up to 10 years.